In Katsina, a state in the North Western part of Nigeria, a 14-year old lady (name withheld), who recently put to bed amidst child birth complications is plagued with divorce after her husband found out that a male Doctor attended to her during child birth.
The 14-year old house wife’s husband was said to have been angry at her for allowing a male medical practioner attend to her while giving birth to his baby therefore, he had to divorce her.
According to reports, the teenage mother, was rushed to the hospital when the complications started but unfortunately, there was no female medical practioner on ground to attend to her. It was only the male Doctor who was available at the hospital and so he did since she was in labour.
The teenage mother’s ordeal has sparked reactions from experienced activists and some medical experts across the country and beyond, citing some of the dangers of teenage marriage which is allegedly a common practice in Northern Nigeria.
Perhaps coincidentally, the Human Resources for Health Production Dialogue which held in Abuja on Thursday, provided a platform and an avenue for the agrieved activists among other professionals to express the displeasure with over the incident while making some significant appeals.
The event however, was organised with a view to revolutionizing the country’s healthcare system and had stakeholders who called for accountability and prudence in healthcare training institutions.
Speaking at the event, one of the key note speaker, Dr. Fatima Adamu who is the Executive Director of Nana Women and Girls Empowerment Initiative, appealed to governments, especially state governments to ensure there was equity in the recruitment and deployment of medical personnel to rural communities.
While making her appeal, she emphasized that the number of heath practitioners in Nigeria is grossly insufficient to provide enough health care services to Nigerians especially those living in rural areas.
Dr. Fatima Adamu, a woman’s right activist has over 15 years of engaging and advocating for increase in production of nurses and midwives in the country. As such, she utilized the platform at the event to once again, make her calls while insisting that governments, especially state governments need take up the responsibility to produce their own health workers amongst other concerns as according to her, ”there is no short cut about it.”
Speaking further, she said “A 14- year old Fulani girl in Katsina State, she delivered and had difficulty with delivery, so we had to take her to the hospital and after the delivery, the husband divorced her because she was attended by a man. This young girl was divorced all because she was attended by a man during delivery,” she lamented.
Dr Adamu further made comparisons assing that, “there is shortage of health workers despite the production. We are producing health workers far below our need. Our average population growth is 3.2, but our annual production of nurses and midwives is 2.6, so definitely, there is gap. That is the latest data available that could be accessed.”
Meanwhile, the Director of USAID/Nigeria HPN Office, Mr. Paul McDermott, represented by Mieko mickay, recognized the pivotal role of students and tutors while encouragi g them to foster positive behaviors that promote a culture of supportive and collaborative learning.
The Country Director of USAID Health Workforce Management, HWM, Dr. Andy Omoluabi also spoke during the event.
Omoluabi stressed that the human resources for health play critical roles in strengthening the country’s healthcare system, especially primary health care workers such as nurses, midwives, and community health extension workers.
According to him, despite the evident importance of these healthcare workers, Nigeria faces numerous challenges in producing enough skilled personnel, particularly at the primary health care level.
He said: ”Some of the identified key challenges, include shortages of qualified tutors and trainers, inadequate learning environments, and difficulties with adapting and delivering training curricula, despite revisions made in collaboration with regulatory bodies.”